Eleven Wrangler wrestlers qualify for State

Elisha Haley photo

RIVERTON – Following a grueling, daylong regional tournament, Pinedale qualified 11 wrestlers for the 3A State Tournament in Casper on Feb. 26. Due to public health guidelines, the regional tournaments were split between four locations. The 3A Northwest Quadrant, including Pinedale, competed at Riverton on Feb. 19. Competition was intense with the top four in each weight class making the cut to State.

The Wranglers placed second at the tournament with 178.5 points, beating Lander, Cody and Riverton. Powell won the meet at 215 points.

“Overall, we are proud of the team,” said head coach Kendall Horrocks. “Looking at the possibilities of who we could qualify for State, we got more than we anticipated. We’re a little disappointed that we got second place, but the way we should have.”

Powell fielded twice the number of wrestlers, Horrocks added. Several wrestlers performed beyond their coaches’ expectations.

“Taylor Richey did a phenomenal job and wrestled two good matches,” Horrocks said. “Tucker Kelly did a great job in a tough weight class and wrestled some good matches to get to (fourth place).”

Senior Kaleb Bigelow won first place in the 160-pound weight class after taking down Kade Fitzgerald of Cody in the quarterfinals and Powell’s Seston Shoopman in the semifinals.

The first-place match pitted Bigelow against Jackson Wood of Cody. Bigelow won the bout by technical fall with a near fall in the third period.

Fellow senior Keegan Gehlhausen took first place in the 170-pound division. Keegan Gehlhausen defeated Cody’s Will Thomasson in the quarterfinals and took down Stetson Davis of Powell in the semifinals.

Following a tight first-place battle including numerous takedowns in the final period, Keegan Gehlhausen won by a 15-6 major decision.

Colton Gehlhausen, a junior, swept the competition in the 132-pound weight class. Colton Gehlhausen advanced through the quarterfinals where he pinned Hunter Smith-Velarde of Lander and beat Cody’s Trenton Hubbs in the semifinals.

In the first-place match, Colton Gehlhausen made quick work of Lander’s Paxton Rees with a win by fall in the first period.

In the 138-pound weight division, junior Cody Phelps won first place by pinning Lander’s Gabe Harris in the third period of the final match. Phelps won by fall over Lakoda Officer of Lander in the quarterfinals and pinned Powell’s Caleb Cruz in the semifinals.

Freshman Jake Hammer came in first place in the 113-pound weight class. After pinning Riverton’s Drake Ecker in the quarterfinals, Hammer beat Aiden Miller of Lander in the semifinals.

In the first-place match, Hammer won by fall over Powell’s Weston Thomas midway into the second period.

Senior Taylor Richey took second place in the 145-pound weight class. Richey pinned Jack Van Norman of Powell in the quarterfinals and advanced to the semifinals where he won by fall over Riverton’s Justin Newberry.

In the 120-pound division, junior Tristan Haley placed second, beating Lander’s Blaze Laird in the semifinals by a 6-1 decision. Haley defeated Ben Hogan of Cody in the quarterfinals by technical fall.

Ethan Kemp, a sophomore, placed third in the 126-pound division, winning the third-place match by fall over Powell’s Vincent Timmons. Freshman Dustin Larsen took third in the 113-pound weight class, pinning Keegan Stephenson of Lander in the first period of the third-place match.

Sophomores Tucker Kelly (160-pound division) and Ian Cantu (195-pound division) both took fourth place after advancing through the consolation semifinals.

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